Lou plopped down on the couch and took a satisfied swig of his cold beer. This time Toni hadn’t gotten a head start on him and he was feeling pretty good about himself. He propped his feet up on the coffee table and grabbed the remote, might as well catch up on the news while he waited.
Fifteen minutes later he was caught up all the local events and the weather, but still no Toni. Wheel of Fortune came on and he clicked off the television. He glanced at the clock—yep, 7:30. What was taking her so long? That has to be the longest walk Rufus has ever been on. That poor pooch would be limping around by now. Toni would probably have to carry his sorry tail back home at this rate. What was she trying to prove?
Lou wondered if she had indeed just walked away from everything—even her clothes. He shook off the feeling and took another swig of beer. No way, he thought. She loved her clothes too much and she had no money to buy more.
Setting down the beer, he walked over to the front window and peered out—nope, she hadn’t taken her car. She wouldn’t have walked and not taking her clothes…would she?
A sharp rap came at the door, making Lou jump back from the window. He hadn’t seen anyone walk up to the house—who could it be? Willing his heart to stop beating out of his chest, he walked to the door. Maybe Toni had forgotten her key.
Flinging open the door, he put on his brightest smile.
“Hey, babe! Forget your…”
“Forget my what? Babe.”
It was Mrs. Wiggins in all her… witchy splendor. Lou’s smile faded and he discreetly closed the gap in the door to just the width of his body. Mrs. Wiggins gave him the creeps big time, and he didn’t want her to think she could come in. She was dressed head to toe in black, complete with long black gloves and a wide brimmed black hat. This was August for crying out loud. What did Toni see in this woman?
“Uh… Hi, Mrs. Wiggins. Sorry, I thought you were Toni.”
“No, dear I’m afraid not, but have you seen her? She dropped this glove when we were talking a few minutes ago,” Mrs. Wiggins asked holding out a red winter glove.
Why would Toni have been wearing winter gloves in the middle of August?
“You saw Toni?” Lou asked, “And she was wearing a glove?”
“Yes,” Mrs. Wiggins replied tartly, “She was walking Rufus. Surely she is home by now. She said she was headed straight back here.”
Lou knitted his eyebrows. Where on earth had she gone?
“Well, I’m sure she’ll be home any minute. Thanks for bringing back her glove,” Lou responded while reaching out for the item.
Mrs. Wiggins snatched the glove away and clutched it close to her bosom while trying to peer past his shoulder into the house.
“Oh, dear. Are you sure she isn’t here?”
There was something about the way she kept looking past him into the house and yet she seemed to be… was that a smirk on her face? This lady was certifiable and he wasn’t about to let her into the house.
“I’m positive Ma’am,” he said, yanking the glove free of her fierce grip when she leaned closer to get a better look into the living room, “Thanks again. Bye!”
As he shut the door on her face he could have sworn she was smiling. Who smiles when getting a door shut in their face? Shuddering from the encounter, he studied the glove before placing on the coffee table. He walked to the kitchen for another beer.
Why in the world had Toni been wearing a winter glove this time of year? That old lady must be going batty. He still had no idea where Toni was though; in fact he was more confused than ever. Maybe he should start dinner. She was bound to be hungry when she got back at this hour. Or, at the very least, clean up her clothes. He decided on the latter since he wasn’t that great of a cook. They could always go out when she got back. He grabbed her duffle bag and headed up the stairs.
As he picked up her sweaters, jeans and underwear he decided if she wasn’t home by 8, he’d give her cell phone a buzz.